The Flight Standards Service Focus Team Concept


To facilitate the agile, efficient, and consistent performance of Flight Standards Service (AFS) functions on issues and projects that demand the active use of the core behaviors discussed below, the Flight Standards Service director (AFS-1) has authorized the establishment of ad hoc Focus Teams.


A Flight Standards Service Focus Team consists of employees with expertise in a specific area (e.g., cargo) or project (e.g., Compliance Philosophy). Focus Team members are selected from across the service, without regard to geographic location or placement in the organization.



The role of the FAA’s Flight Standards Service is to develop standards, certificate operators on the basis of those standards, and assure continuous operational safety by certificated entities. In order to be a healthy organization that is agile, effective, and consistent in the performance these functions for the highly dynamic aviation industry, the Flight Standards Service has embarked on a “Future of Flight Standards” transition. This transition includes cultural change at both the individual and “enterprise” (management) levels, and structural change that will facilitate and reinforce ongoing cultural changes.


At the individual level, the AFS culture change requires each employee to demonstrate three core behaviors:  interdependence, critical thinking, and consistency. The promotion of these behaviors is predicated upon the following assumptions:


Interdependence is essential because it is not possible for a single FAA employee or facility to have expertise in every possible issue or combination of issues that can arise in the highly complex and dynamic aviation industry. Employees must communicate and collaborate up, down, and across the organization to obtain the information needed to address these issues.


Critical thinking is essential because it is not possible for the FAA to draft policy or guidance sufficient to cover every conceivable set of issues and circumstances that can arise in the aviation industry. Employees must use critical thinking to understand desired outcomes and develop innovative ways to accomplish those outcomes.


Consistency is essential because AFS owes each stakeholder the right answer for each set of discrete facts, with “right” meaning that answers are anchored in regulations and policy but tailored to the stakeholder’s discrete circumstances.


The Focus Team concept is consistent with the ongoing cultural and structural changes collectively known as the “Future of Flight Standards.” A list of current Flight Standards Focus Teams is attached, with contact information for each one.